SF State students write Wikipedia bios for unsung heroes of STEM
Humanities class helps fill in equity gaps among STEM professionals from underrepresented groups
Wikipedia is among the most visited websites in the world, with information on over 6 million topics. But much is missing, particularly in diversity. Through a partnership with the user-moderated online encyclopedia, students at San Francisco State University recently wrote original biographies for notable professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from underrepresented groups.
Scientists from traditionally underrepresented groups comprise a small minority on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, only about 8% of the site’s 275,000 biographies of scientists are women, with similar gaps across race and ethnicity.
With support from the Broadcom Foundation, the Wikipedia Education group selected the San Francisco State Humanities class “History of Science from the Scientific Revolution,” taught by Associate Professor David M. Peña-Guzmán from the Department of Humanities and Comparative World Literature, as one of its partners this past summer. Wikipedia Education is a nonprofit organization that serves as the bridge between academia and Wikipedia throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Nine of the biographies compiled by SF State students are live on Wikipedia. The students’ writing brings visibility to living professionals whose legacies have yet to be completed. They include chemical engineer Miguel Modestino, sustainable industrial engineer Enrique Lomnitz and Procter & Gamble executive and microbiologist Adrian Land.